Sportsdesk comment with Daniel Gregory: Grassroots sport on the ropes as more clubs quit

Sports desk comment
Sports desk comment

Two more clubs were all set to join the long list of local teams on the grassroots scrapheap last night as the crisis hitting local sport continues.

Sunday League division one sides Seamer (pictured) and Shakespeare’s exit from the league’s constitution was expected to be rubber-stamped by their committee, leaving them in a tricky position.

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If, as expected, Seamer and Shakespeare are both leaving the league, secretary Tony Walker will be left with an embarrassing six teams in division one, with eight in the other two divisions.

Playing the odd game for Klosters in division one, I saw first hand last season the frustration becoming common- place in the leagues.

There were times when we wouldn’t have a game for almost an entire month - surely you have to draw the line somewhere?

I think it is time to drop to two divisions, or risk losing further teams.

Figures from a post-2012 Olympics survey show that numbers of people playing local sport is dropping.

More than 1.9 million people played football once a week during 2012-13, a drop from the figure of almost 2.2 million for 2011-12, while the figures for cricket saw a drop from 211,300 to 189,400 and I’d wager that number has yet again slumped this summer.

THE DAMNING STATS

(From 11/12 - 12/13)

Football - Down 11.76%

Cricket - Down 10.36%

Rugby Union - Down 15.75%

Source: BBC Sport

I will be at the joint Beckett League and Derwent Valley League meeting on Sunday night to put forward the large number of suggestions for a solution to the problem, provided by Scarborough News readers.

It is a very tricky time for the league’s committee members.

Cricket is a very traditional sport, especially at grassroots level, while the game is going through a radical overhaul with t20 taking over.

Ashley Winspear and Bernard Goulding have some tough decisions to make over the next few months in a bid to boost the future of the sport in the area.

Having said that, so do the member clubs, who essentially have the final say on the matter.

I received a lot of feedback after requesting people’s views and suggestions, thus showing the interest is still there and maybe the rules just need a bit of tampering rather than radical overhaul.

It is important we get boys and girls between the ages of 16-25 to keep playing sport, as that seems to be the age when people are switching off at now.

The number of clubs having to call it a day in both sports indicates there is a problem. It is easier said than done solving that problem though.

BY DANIEL GREGORY